Few movies are as odd, nonsensical and completely pleasurable as “Hot Tub Time Machine.”
The plot is negligible — it’s summed up accurately by the high-concept title — but what transpires during the course of 100 beautifully deranged minutes is lewd, crude and delightfully funny. Trying to make sense of it would be missing the point.
The story is simple and unapologetically illogical. Middle-aged Adam (John Cusack), his loser buddies (Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson) and his nerdy, Internet-obsessed nephew (Clark Duke) head to a ski resort, hop in the hot tub and are magically transported back to 1986.
Before you ask why — the answer has to do with a Russian energy drink, illegal in the U.S. — consider this: Does it really matter?
What does matter is that “Hot Tub Time Machine” earns its R rating the old-fashioned way, with language, bodily fluids and projectile vomit that should make even the most desensitized moviegoer blush.
And that’s not a bad thing. While movies like “American Pie” paid homage of sorts to the raunchy comedies of the ’80s, “Hot Tub” is the genuine article, ignoring the era of political correctness and taking actual risks.
They pay off time and again. There’s nothing Cusack can’t do — his comic timing is always uncanny — but it’s Corddry, of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” who establishes himself here as a formidable big-screen talent, with his exuberantly profane rants and manic energy.
Playing a self-destructive drunk who feels abandoned by his friends, he recalls a young John Belushi, albeit significantly balder.
The humor in “Hot Tub Time Machine” is not for the faint of heart, but the laughs come quickly and consistently for those attuned to its absurd, juvenile (but slyly hip) sensibilities.
It’s the funniest comedy to come along in years, and nine months from now, when the competition has come and gone, should still be regarded as one of 2010’s finest films.
Hot Tub Time Machine
Starring John Cusack, Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Sebastian Stan
Written by Josh Heald, Sean Anders, Josh Morris
Directed by Steve Pink
Running time 1 hour 40 minutes